Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Posthumously speaking 10

Morro Rock

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor’s Note: The artist’s daughter, Karen Abbey, recently brought to my attention that her oldest son, Mark Denham, has his grandmother’s painting of Morro Rock, near where Karen and her husband Cliff lived for many years, in and around Morro Bay, California. The rock is a 581-foot volcanic plug located just offshore from Morro Bay, at the entrance to Morro Bay Harbor.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Fifth Monday Fiction: My misadventures with Ron Rudnick

A true story

By Bob Boldt

[The names have not been changed to protect the living or the dead.]

Some had started to believe that the fifth floor of our building was jinxed. Being an urban pioneer of sorts, I was one of the first to settle the unoccupied warehouse at 110 W. Kinzie in Chicago. This was in the late seventies, a decade before gentrification, in which the visionaries, artists, and assorted freaks who inhabited such seemingly unlikely urban spaces were inevitably turned out by landlords eager to “develop” the properties and raise the rent on the very occupants who had made the neighborhood hip and trendy by their presence.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fourth Sunday from Jingle Jangle

Sugar and Hot Lips (Chapter 5 of Jingle Jangle)

By Jim Rix

[Editor’s Note: As the date of publication approached, billboards around Phoenix, Arizona started announcing the arrival of the book that would blow the cover off the Ray Krone case.]

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal

In the end, which do I dislike more?

By James Knudsen

If I asked you to guess which of the following I dislike more, working in customer service or getting a colonoscopy, what would your answer be? We’ll get to my answer in the end – I mean, eventually.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

There's something Leonard Pitts, Jr. has never understood about the argument over global warming. "Pope Francis urges consensus on climate change." Excerpt:

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Thor's Day: Why not just leave it at "you believe or you don't"?

"The tradition of the West is embodied in the 
Great Conversation that began in the dawn 
of history and that continues to the present day."
Robert Maynard Hutchins
Beliefs matter, and detrimental beliefs need to be challenged

By Morris Dean

A kind, diplomatically worded comment on last week's Thor's Day column, "Why God just has to exist: There 'sproof!" gave me pause to consider. The comment was from my niece, Dawn Burke, who lives in Springdale, Arkansas. My wife and I visited Dawn and her family in January, less than four months before her mother my sister Flo passed away in nearby Bentonville. Dawn commented:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ask Wednesday: What does “Underthebelly” mean by his moniker?

Not what I thought

Edited by Morris Dean

One of our highly valued contributors and commentators sometimes comments as “Underthebelly.” Recently, in a public comment, I asked him whether we might do an interview on what that moniker suggests by way of its “connotations, allusions, [and] implications?” – and what he actually means by it.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday Voice: 50 years ago

An adventurous new life started

By William Silveira

Fifty years ago last Friday, Marylin and I were married at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Visalia, California. We were married at 1:00 in the afternoon on a hot day (about 102° F.), much like today. In terms of Catholic practice, the wedding broke new ground. It was in the afternoon; previously, all weddings were scheduled in the morning. And we were permitted to have a lector to explain the Latin parts of the mass to the guests in attendance. The men in the wedding party wore white dinner jackets and the women were in formal attire.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Review: The Imitation Game

Barely an imitation

By Chuck Smythe

I finished watching The Imitation Game (2014, directed by Morten Tyldum) with mixed feelings. [The film is a biographical drama about mathematician Alan Turing and the World War II cracking of the Nazis’ Enigma code.]

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Third Saturday Fiction

Portrait of the author
by Susan C. Price
Chapter 1. “Downstairs at the White House,” from The Unmaking of the President: A Bicentennial Entertainment (a novel)

By W.M. Dean

[The novel is set in the 1970s of Watergate. Part I is titled, "The Unmaking of the Chief Aide," which begins with the quotation, “Fake it till you make it.”]

Friday, June 19, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Trump Jumps In. [Kathleen Hennessey, LA Times] The GOP presidential field has a CEO, a doctor, three senators and a senator-doctor. Now it has a reality TV star. Donald Trump says he's all in. He trashed just about everyone in a zinger-filled speech. Democrats are gleeful. Republicans aren't. With his billions and famous name, Trump could make the polling cut to reach the debate stage – and suck a lot of air out of the room. Excerpt:
Democrats leapt at the chance to use Trump as an excuse to tweak the other GOP candidates. His entry "adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation," the Democratic National Committee said in a statement.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Thor's Day: Why God just has to exist

There 'sproof!

By Morris Dean

God just has to exist. Look at all the people who pray to Him, or say "God damnit" when they bang their thumb, or "Oh, God" when they're coming. There has to be God to hear and answer those prayers, to damn whatever He's called on to damn, to resonate with the pulse of the latest transcendent orgasm.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

Should I get myself checked for STDs?

By Susan C. Price

[Questions are followed by answers and then, inevitably by ADVICE...you DID expect that...didn’t you?]

I have been with my partner for eight years and we are due to be married within the next 12 months. The problem I have is that we got together young – I was 17 – and I’d had sexual partners before, but never got checked for STDs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Recent paintings by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Detail of painting at bottom
In the spirit

By Vic Midyett

The two of my wife's nature paintings are from photographs I took in the last couple of weeks of May. And the two paintings of a cat were commissioned by a lady who wanted one for herself and one for her son. Shirley is glad for me to share them, but painting is an incredibly private affair for Shirley.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Second Saturday's Sonnet


By Eric Meub

[Originally published on March 8, 2014]


That smile’s not just for anyone. You know
your falling houses, gingham dresses, To-
to too, with flowerbed discernments keen
enough to tell the good witch from the green.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by 
Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

The story ["So residieren Merkel und Obama"] may be in German, but the pictures of the Alpine area where the G7 are meeting in Bavaria's Schloss Elmau are in a language you can enjoy.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Thor’s Day: End time acoming

Alex Grey's "Gaia" (1989, oil on linen, 96"x144")
[See statement from Mr. Grey at bottom.]
The Destruction of Ilê Aiyê—the World Tree

By Bob Boldt

Since its sprout days,
its twig days,
it has rooted itself here,
on the edge of the abyss,
above the wide river,
shining like a tiny silver vein
in the deep chasm far below.
Miles across, its gnarled trunk is sinewed
and strong as the neck of a crone.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ask Wednesday: How many times has your heart beaten?

By Morris Dean

Over the past couple of months, I have noticed a significant increase in the odd chest "flutterings" that I reported in last September's "Characters" column. At that time, a two-week monitoring showed that I occasionally had a "premature ventricular contraction" (PVC), which prompted a skipped beat, and there were a few runs of rapid heart beats.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Second Tuesday on Franklin Hill Farm

Detail from bottom photo

Bettina Sperry

Several months ago I purchased five Pekin ducks and two mallards. I raised them in the kitchen for a short few weeks and then took them outside to finish their rearing. They were handled daily as they matured. As the Pekins turned from yellow to white, and the mallards gained their colors, they graced the creek in the pasture next to the house. Over time, as they grew, they wandered up and down the creek, swimming in the larger holes where they could.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Second Monday Music: Bulgaria intensive

AISU students travel abroad for music and other arts

Edited by Morris Dean

[Editor’s Note: In the March 9 edition of this column, Christa Saeger introduced us to two-week intensive programs for students at the American International School of Utah. The school’s latest performing-arts intensive involved a trip to Bulgaria. With permission, we’ve taken some excerpts from the blog “AISUBULGARIAINTENSIVE,” where participants recorded their impressions. Bloggers are identified by their initials.]

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Review: Doubt

In persona sororitas

By Bob Boldt

[Submitted to Bishop Emil Frank on November 13, in the year of our Lord 2013 by His obedient servant Sister James, Principal of The Sisters of Charity School of New York (Retired)]

Many years ago, an incident occurred that has weighed upon me ever since. I feel that I must reveal to you the personal conclusions I have arrived at, now that I am about to meet The Blessed Bridegroom.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

This summer, follow Osprey and Atlantic Puffin families right on your screen. Streaming from Maine, Audubon's live cameras are your window into the world of birds. You’ll see eggs hatch, chicks fledge, and surprise events along the way.
    Register for bird alerts, and you'll get updates when anything exciting happens in the nest.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Thor's Day: The need for Christian apologies

Jonathan 3:16

By Morris Dean

In a comment on May 21's column ("What's nihilistic about nihilism?"), I used the English word "apology" for the Latin "apologia" – a formal defense of one’s opinion – meaning it as a joke. It appears that my muse may have had something else in mind that I wasn't picking up on at the time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

About ladies and aging and looks

By Susan C. Price

[Questions are followed by answers and then, inevitably by ADVICE...you DID expect that...didn’t you?]

I’m a man of 66 and my girlfriend is 67 and looks a lot younger than she is. She is so beautiful, and I’m madly in love with her. We first met 38 years ago, but lost touch, then she tracked me down on Facebook a few years ago and we have been seeing each other for the past six months.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Ghostly sunset on the Australind estuary

Detail from photo at bottom
It's the rain

By Vic Midyett

So many of my sunset photos on the estuary have looked more or the less the same, but the view when it was raining about ten days ago gave me a chance to change all that.

Monday, June 1, 2015

First Monday with Characters: Tribute to Sgt. Pepper

Released 48 years ago today…

[Editor’s Note: In a departure from our usual “First Monday” column, today some of our characters express their personal tribute to the Beatles album that Time magazine declared “a historic departure in the progress of music’.” –Wikipedia]